As the sea route between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean and the narrow meeting point between Europe and Asia, the Bosphorus has been of immense strategic and commercial importance ever since humanity first strapped a few planks together and took up paddling. Old Istanbul straddles both sides, with one leg in Europe, the other in Asia and the whole world passing in between. The history of the region is littered with war, invasion, conquest and capture. No doubt, it will be again.
In 2011, BBC Radio 4 ran a three part history of the Bosphorus. It’s an absorbing tale, well told by Edward Stourton. If you have time to spare, tune in the wireless, sit back with a small cup of sweetened kahve, a slice of baklava and lose yourself in the drama while your teeth rot and your arteries harden. Click on the picture link below:
Interestingly, the word “Bosphorus” derives from the ancient Greek “Bosporos” which means “Oxford.” Who knew?
With many thanks to Alan Austin who sent me a link to the programme.